Investigative documentaries

No stone is left unturned in these top-quality investigative documentaries on BBC Select. If you live in Canada or the US, sign up for BBC Select to follow world-renowned presenters, such as Louis Theroux and Tom Hardy, as they dig deeper into the heart of stories that matter.

Prosecuting Hip Hop: Drill On Trial

Prosecuting Hip Hop: Drill On Trial

The latest music genre to spark a wave of moral panic is Drill, a sub genre of hip hop that originated in Chicago in the early 2010s. Noted for an explicit style of lyricism and associated with crime, lawyers and rap experts are increasingly required to defend Drill artists and their music in court. But should these artistic statements ever be used in a legal context?

Scandalous: Phone Hacking On Trial

Scandalous: Phone Hacking On Trial

A bitter legal battle is taking place over allegations of unlawful information gathering at some of Britain’s biggest newspaper groups. Powerfully told through the testimonies of alleged victims including Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan, Heather Mills and Sir Simon Hughes, this documentary unpicks the evidence and claims emerging out of the civil courts in unprecedented detail.

Episode 1: Shocking Revelations
How the interception of a murdered schoolgirl’s voicemails changed British media forever.

In 2011, it was revealed that the News of the World had intercepted the voicemails of a murdered schoolgirl, Millie Dowler. In response Rupert Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old newspaper and British media changed forever. This episode looks at the culture of the British press before and after this infamous incident. How widespread was this sort of unscrupulous activity?

Episode 2: Celebs Fight Back
What methods were used by British newspapers to gather information on celebrities?

Many celebrities have claimed that British newspapers used unlawful information gathering to get stories. Stars such as Sienna Miller, Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and Heather Mills share candid and exclusive testimonies about their experiences. How and why were these famous figures targeted and what effect did it have on their lives and careers?

Is China Watching You?

Is China Watching You

China’s surveillance and facial recognition technology is arguably the most advanced in the world. Their products account for over 40% of global sales to places like Germany, Ecuador, Uganda and the UK. However, this documentary reveals that some are worried that the countries going big on digital CCTV might also be opening the door to being spied on, but do these fears have any foundation?

National Security: The Treholt Story

National Security: The Treholt Story

On January 24, 1984, Arne Treholt, a well-known Norwegian career diplomat and politician, left the Foreign Ministry in Oslo on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Vienna. Hours later he sat in a police interrogation room, under arrest, charged with spying for the Soviet Union. This thrilling documentary tells this true story of international espionage and treachery at the highest levels.


The FBI covertly begin to monitor a Norwegian politician. But what are their suspicions?

One day in January, in the early 1980s, the FBI moves into an apartment in Manhattan. Their job is to spy on the neighbors across the hall, a Norwegian diplomat and his family. But what do they suspect? This thrilling political documentary begins to tell the remarkable story of Arne Treholt, suspected of being a possible agent for the enemy in the east, the Soviet KGB.

The World’s Second Oldest Profession
How does a spy become a spy and what are the processes used to recruit them?

Young journalist Arne Treholt is introduced to a Soviet diplomat at a party. Shortly thereafter he is invited to dinners by this diplomat without knowing he works for the KGB. All countries attempt to obtain information from enemy countries, preferably through human sources. This engrossing documentary looks at how such a
cultivation process begins. Did Arne even know he was being recruited?

It Just Happened
Arne begins delicate negotiations with Russia, while also relaying secret information.

Arne Treholt’s career is taking off. He is becoming a powerful politician. He negotiates with the Russians regarding important territorial waters off the coast of Norway. But, as this thrilling documentary reveals, he also maintains secret relations with the KGB. What is the truth regarding Treholt’s dealings with the Russians, and what was the Soviet Union concerned about during the Cold War?

A Channel For Dialogue
A top job should have been the pinnacle of his career. But it was the start of the end.

When Norway joins the UN Security Council in 1979, Arne Treholt moves to New York to work as a diplomat. But as this fascinating documentary shows, a sense of adventure drives him to resume contact with the former KGB chief at the Norwegian embassy. This decision proves to be fateful. Behind the scenes the FBI, MI6 and Russian double agents begin to take an interest in Arne.

Cosmic Top Secret
A net begins to close in on Arne Treholt as he’s witnessed contacting enemy agents.

A new job for Treholt allows him access to top secret information, even though the Norwegian authorities suspect him of espionage. As this gripping documentary reveals, police monitor him by means of telephone tapping and cameras in his apartment. During a search, they make a decisive discovery which, for the first time, enables them to witness secret meetings between Treholt and the KGB.

The Spy Paragraph
Treholt is caught and sentenced to life. But questions still remain about his conviction.

Arne Treholt is caught and convicted. But, as this fascinating documentary concludes, questions still remain. Was it sufficiently proven that he passed information on to the KGB that endangered Norway’s security? Was there enough evidence to prove Treholt was a spy and deserved a life sentence? Is it possible, 40 years later, to find out why the authorities in the Kremlin valued Treholt?

Who Sank The Titanic?

Who Sank The Titanic?

It’s a tragic story the still fascinates people to this day. But who was ultimately responsible for the fate of the Titanic? Through CGI and dramatic reconstructions, this compelling Titanic documentary explores the chain of misjudgment, misfortunes, and human errors to tell the full story.